“If confusion is the first step to knowledge, I must be a genius” – Larry Leissner
Sometimes I get really frustrated with myself, especially when I am trying to learn something. On January 6th, Jennifer Cole wrote in her blog about different types of photographers (click here to view). She discussed the idea of technical versus non-technical photographers. I definitely am a “non-technical” photographer. When people talk about anything beyond the very basics (“good composition”) I feel like a newbie who hasn’t acquired any knowledge in the 14 months since I got my camera.
I simply like to take pictures.
Today my frustration is about something not even that technical: our tripod. The thing just made no sense to me so I was taking time today to try to learn how to use it and it did not turn out well. I received a small tripod for Christmas that can contort to anything and I have to say I get along much better with it – there are fewer adjustable parts!
All that said and done, I decided to post a photo that truly is one of my favourites. It was a shot that just happened as I was taking pictures last spring. It’s a reminder that there are days, and then there are better days.
I am a big fan of macro photography. This statement would not be a surprise to anyone who has looked at my blog, seen my Facebook page or seen more than two photos I’ve ever taken. It most certainly is not what I envisioned as my main interest when I took up photography a year ago. I literally fell into it after a comment by a Black’s employee. This nice young man suggested I buy some filters, rather than a lens, to try out macro photography. Since a “real” macro lens is around $800+, he thought I should spend a whole lot less to see just how much I did or did not like macro photography. So, I ordered 4 filters online for a whooping $14.95 and gave them a try. I was hooked within a day.
The downside of this, of course, was that I have not spent time working on other types of photography. When I told Laura that I was going to be taking photos downtown this weekend, she suggested I take some “big” pictures – landscapes and buildings, that kind of thing. So, I did. I snuck in a bit of macro (I mean, really, when a bee just flies into your shot, and you get a shot of his wings moving, what can you do?) but I tried to broaden my view. I took over 130 photos and came out with a few that I can live with but I also came out with an understanding of the importance of framing being equally important in “big” and “little” photos.
I find that people have strong reactions to insects. The fact that I love to take photos of insects is somewhat surprising in that, as a friend pointed out recently, I am allergic to bees so what am I thinking taking photographs of them – and close up photos at that? As I’ve mentioned in other posts, I usually don’t go looking for the insects and especially not bees; they simply show up.
I like insects because they amaze me. Spiders work diligently to create intricate webs and they are accomplished “hunters” of prey. Bees are very important to the lives of my favourite subject – flowers. All insects are fascinating to look at though it is extremely difficult to do so in their natural setting because they are busy….being insects.
I probably would not have taken any interest in insects if it weren’t for Kyle. His master degree focus involves ants and his project from fourth year that involved creating a “bug box” totally captivated my interest. I no longer kills insects unless it is absolutely necessary, although I am not THAT person who insists that everyone adhere to that ideal. I see the value of insects in a totally different way and therefore I appreciate them in a totally different way as well.
Yet, let’s face it. People either love ’em or they hate ’em. Children are most often firmly in one camp or another; adults usually can manage to keep their hatred to a low roar, but often children can be heard screaming and scurrying from anything other than the smallest of insects.
So, I fully understand that the photos in this post will not be for everyone. All I expect is an appreciation for what they bring to our world. Think honey.
Enjoy. Or not.
This weekend we closed the cottage. Having grown up in landlocked Alberta, the world of cottaging was all new to me when I moved here 28 years ago. And sometimes, it still feels foreign. Out west, people go “to the lake” or “the cabin”. Here, the family cottage sits on a river and “the cabin” is the small, winterized building on the property.
The first time I ever saw the cottage was in the winter of 1982. Tim and I had come to Ontario to spend Christmas with his family and friends. For New Year’s Eve, we were going skiing and stopped at the cottage on our way. We must have cross-country skied in, which would have been a first for me. I don’t remember much, except the quiet. It was so peaceful.
The cottage is still a quiet place in the winter, and often times during the week in the summer. The weekends, though, are a different story. The river is like a thoroughfare, transporting people at such a pace and with such frequency you can forget that gas is extraordinarily expensive.
The cottage has become a place that allows me to take some of my favourite shots because of the slower pace. Up and away from the river, even the insects seem to slow down. This weekend, I spent a significant amount of time photographing a bee and although I was very close to it, the insect was so intent on its work that it never seemed to be bothered by me. Perhaps the fact that I held on to the stem of the flower, preventing it from swaying in the wind and ruining my shot, also allowed the bee to be more productive. It was a win-win.
The photos below are ones that I took throughout the spring, summer and fall “up north”. The cottage life may not have started out familiar to me, but the many photo opportunities it provides offer an appeal that is wholly unique.